Rugby

Kirkcaldy 25 Aberdeen Rugby 27

Aberdeen Grammar kept themselves on target for a top four place in National League 1, winning a thriller in which they and their gutsy never say die opponents Kirkcaldy were a credit to the game for the entire 80 minutes.

The Rubislaw side just shaded it, holding off the determined Fifers who gallantly came back in the last play of the game to earn a losing bonus point against a Grammar side who would almost certainly have lost this kind of game earlier in the season, as acknowledged by head coach Ali O’Connor. “Kirkcaldy played well, pushing us throughout, but we had the edge when it mattered.

Picking up a maximum five points is always a bonus at Beveridge Park. The opposition were relentless, keeping coming back at us whenever we looked like taking control, but it was good game which went right down to the wire. We had the steel to see it through. We can now look forward to another big challenge next week when we face Kelso who had a good win over Selkirk today. Even with home advantage it is going to be tough,” said O’Connor.

Grammar’s new found faith in themselves shone through in the shape of stand in full back Sean Mills who had an outstanding game, capping his return to the game with a try, and generally looking the part in after taking the place of Bryn Perrott who was not available, and a hard act to follow. His efforts on the difficult underfoot conditions, earning him the man of the match award.

But it was Kirkcaldy who hit the ground running in eight minutes with a converted try, only for Grammar to hit back immediately through lock Robin Cessford when he got himself in the right place to get his side off the mark. Centre Tom Aplin missed the conversion, while his opposite number Alex Black made no mistake with his penalty effort two minutes later to give his side a 10 – 5 lead which Aplin reduced with one of his own. Inspired by this success Grammar surged back through winger Craig Shepherd who cleverly set up prop Calum Reddish for an unconverted try, giving the Aberdeen side a narrow 13 – 10 lead at half time.

Kirkcaldy hit back early in the second half with a penalty and an unconverted try, and at 18 – 13 to the good, looked like taking over the bruising encounter, only for Mills to show his class with a fine run, ending in a touchdown to which Aplin added the extras.

The tenacious Aplin sealed the game with a try in the 73 minute, adding the conversion to give the visitors a 27 – 18 lead, but it was the Fifers who had the last word in the final minute when flanker

Dayle Turner raced over for a converted try, giving his side a precious and deserved losing bonus point in a first class game.

Grammar for their part were good value for the win, picking up their 11th try bonus point in 14 outings, no mean feat for a side lying sixth in the table.

© Jack Nixon

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